How to stay safe while driving in a monsoon storm

The monsoon is here, and there's always a risk of getting caught in a storm while driving.

The Arizona Dept. of Transportation (ADOT) has some tips for drivers to stay safe if they are caught in a downpour.

"The two major issues we deal with here in Arizona during the monsoon season are dust storms and heavy downpours," said Doug Nick with ADOT.

Nick says that if a driver is caught in a low visibility dust storm, it's important to pull over.

"You need to lower your speed, and even if it’s a certain density, you should even consider pulling well off of the roadway," he said.

After that, drivers need to turn their lights off and keep their foot off the brake while keeping the emergency brake ready.

"You need to turn off your lights because traffic that may be approaching you may not realize in those conditions that you’re actually stopped," Nick said. "They may think you're driving along. We have had really bad accidents in the past because people don’t realize the car ahead of them was stopped."

Drivers should also pull over if heavy rain begins to fall.

"Pull aside and get off of the roadway as far and as safely as you can and wait out whatever is making you uncomfortable," Nick said.

An ADOT dust monitoring system is on its way to Tucson to warn drivers if a dust storm is approaching. Nick says it's best to take the warning and not risk driving in those conditions.

Other tips from ADOT include:

  • When you come across a dust storm, immediately check for traffic around your vehicle and begin slowing down.
  • Pull off the roadway as soon as possible, before waiting for visibility to become poor. Exit the highway completely if possible.
  • Do not stop in travel lanes or the emergency lane. Pull off the pavement completely if it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay in your vehicle with your safety belt buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

More monsoon safety tips here:

Road Conditions

  • Call 511 anywhere in Arizona or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)

You can check the latest weather conditions by visiting the FOX 10 Phoenix weather page, or download the Free FOX 10 Weather app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android.

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